Lucky for me the first Tweetup in the bay area happened to be a few blocks from our offices at Socialtext, so I picked up Ling ling and we headed on over to meet fellow tweeters. My thanks to Ryan and Jennifer for kicking it off. Here’s what it looked like after the drinking got started (click the pic to pull up more):
The Tweeters are, from left to right, Martin, Ling ling, Rachel Luxemburg, me, Ryan Kuder, Mukund Mohan, Jennifer Leggio, and Joel Postman. Chris Abad and Leora Zellman also came from a drink and a gab after the above pic was taken.
We mostly had a laugh about some of the recent Twitterdrama as well as how each of us came to get onto Twitter. There’s always a learning or two to take away – Here’s my three takeaways:
1. Twitter turns the acquaintance process on its head. Normally we meet people, exchange pleasantries and start to form relationships based on shared interested. With tweetups, you go in with predefined “tags” for many people you meet. I realize that sounds impersonal, but there is also the benefit of skipping the lowest common denominator conversations (just to be polite) and heading right for conversations both you and the other person find interesting. For life hacks types of people, this is awesome.
2. Tweetups fill the gaps. Like Mukund, I wondered why despite the efficiency of many to many scalable communication, we still meet in person. I think we are programmed to communicate as much via visual queues as we do with words (these are of course missing in Twitter). Hence face to face meetings “complete the picture”. There’s also the serendipity of meeting someone you likely wouldn’t have friended otherwise.
3. Open conversations inhibit more open conversations? Everyone there is well aware that tweets aren’t private, and thus felt free to throw around some good natured jabs at widely known bloggers and tweeters. In other words, they felt more free to share their opinions in a way they never would on Twitter.